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Chatswood Overview & History

By Robert McElhone

Chatswood is an established mixed use area, with residential, industrial and commercial land use. Industrial estates are located mainly in the eastern section. The commercial area is centred around Victoria Avenue, near the railway station. Chatswood is bounded by Blue Gum Creek, Wyvern Avenue, the Pacific Highway, Ashley Street and Scotts Creek in the north, Eastern Valley Way, Warrane Road and generally by Victoria Street and Sydney Street in the east, Mowbray Road and Mowbray Road West in the south and Moola Parade, Coolaroo Road, Hart Street, Mooney Street, the Lane Cove River, Chatswood Golf Club and Millwood Avenue in the west. Chatswood is named after “Chat” (Charlotte) Hartnett, the wife of district pioneer and former Mayor of Willoughby, Richard Hartnett, and the original “wooded” nature of the area.

Settlement of the area dates from the 1840s, with land used mainly for timber getting and farming. In the early years the junction of Pacific Highway and Mowbray Road was the centre of a small township. Chatswood began to develop as Willoughby City’s commercial centre from the 1890s, following the opening of the North Shore railway line, when the retail centre began to move east into Chatswood. Growth accelerated in the 1930s with the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, although this was slowed by the Depression and World War 2. Residential growth continued in the inter-war period, as well as the post-war years, with many large estates subdivided into the classic quarter acre plots. There has been significant retail and commercial growth since the 1980s, with accompanying residential growth, mainly of apartments and townhouses. The area has a mix of housing with many large homes and gardens, and an increasing number of high density housing developments in the area closest to the Pacific Highway. The population has increased substantially since the mid 1990s, a result of new dwellings being added to the area, particularly high density housing.

Major features of the area include the Chatswood CBD (including Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre and Chatswood Plaza Shopping Centre), Chatswood Golf Club, Zenith Centre & Theatre, Bales Park, Beauchamp Park, Blue Gum Park, Chatswood Park, Ferndale Park, Greville Street Park, Muston Park and numerous schools.

Source Reference: Willoughby City Council

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